Snapchat Guide

The University Edition

March 2017

Since the initial launch of Snapchat in 2011 the platform has continued to grow and now more universities than ever are making full use of this social platform. In its simplest form, Snapchat is a platform for sharing quick, raw pictures and videos, or “snaps” that only last 10 seconds before disappearing. Since its launch, Snapchat has continued to add more features including Snapchat stories, much like regular snaps these only appear on screen for up to 10 seconds but can be re-watched over a 24 hour period before they then disappear for good.

Studies from last year show under 25-year-olds make up 60% of Snapchat users, the largest age group being 18-24-year-olds (37%). These age ranges fit with a typical university student, making it a perfect platform to connect with your audience.

Snapchat can be used effectively in many different ways for universities to promote, connect, and engage with their audience. We are going to explore some of the options available for University Snapchat users.



BTS and Live Events


Snapchat is great for giving that behind scenes feel, take the camera behind the polished images that appear across other social media platforms and use this to make your followers feel like they’re part of something more personal, creating a stronger bond between you. You can use your other social media platforms to build your following on Snapchat and build excitement across all platforms, for example, tease some news on your university twitter and end it with “Follow our Snapchat to hear the rest” this can really help build hype and buzz around any behind the scenes content you share. It’s also worth noting that because of how Snapchat works the pictures and videos don’t have to be perfect as they won’t appear on your social media page forever.

As well as sharing things from the behind the scenes Snapchat can be great for broadcasting live events, a series of 10-second videos strung together on your Snapchat story will create excitement and your followers can feel involved wherever they are. For example, Snapchatting a university sporting event, complete the Snapchats with stickers or even a geofilter (which we’ll talk about more later) and you’ve got an exciting live broadcast for everyone who couldn’t make it to that event. There are endless options for creating behind the scenes content on Snapchat, the important thing Is to be creative and keep it fresh and interesting.







Snapchat takeovers are growing more and more popular, you essentially hand over the control of your Snapchat account to someone else, usually someone with a large following or someone who can offer your Snapchat followers something interesting. Hand the controls of your university Snapchat account over to a student for example; they can then show university life from their everyday point of view. Asking students to run the account will give a different, interesting insight each day/week and ensure your story content isn’t boring or repetitive. Once you’ve showcased a few different snap confident students you could use a poll on twitter to ask your followers who they’d like to see take over again. The best thing about asking students to effectively do the work for you is that they already know what to do on the platform, the chances are they’ve been using it for years already and are completely confident in how to not only navigate the app but also in what works and what doesn’t. Make the takeovers into a weekly event and use the hashtag #TakeoverTuesday across your social media platforms, ask the students you’ve chosen to do the takeovers to use the hashtag on their personal social media channels as well to build even more followers.


The main thing with student takeovers is to ensure you are choosing trustworthy students, we suggest sending them an email listing what will be excepted of them and what they will be expected not to do. For example, DO keep it appropriate, Do feel free to add stickers, filters and lenses, DON’T give the password or controls to anyone else. You’ll also have to give the student login details so make sure you change the password after each takeover.




Live Q&A


Another option for using Snapchat to engage with your followers and students is to run a Q&A, ask students to send in their questions and either ask other students to answer them as part of a takeover or whoever is running the Snapchat account can answer, this would depend on the topic of the Q&A. There are a few different ways of doing this kind of thing; you can ask students to send their questions using Snapchat itself either sending pictures or a video asking their question. You can alternatively ask for the questions to be sent to you via Twitter or Facebook and then answer them on Snapchat helping to reach different students across platforms and linking the two together.

If you’re going to ask students to Snapchat your account firstly you need to make sure your settings in “who can contact me” are set to everyone so their questions via Snapchat will come through. Answer random questions or ask for questions on a specific topic, an example could be to ask a third-year student to answer questions from new first year students about their university experience.



Contests and promotions


Use your Snapchat account to give back to your students, run competitions or offer your students promotion codes that are exclusive to Snapchat. This is just another way to make your Snapchat followers feel like they are an exclusive group of people. Give you students the chance to win something they will be interested in, a prize or tickets of some sort and ask them to send a snap entry of why they should win for example. Running a “snap competition” will also encourage more students to follow and keep up with your Snapchat. 


Measuring engagement


Snapchat is more difficult to measure engagement compared to other platforms like Facebook or Instagram, there are no “likes” or comments but you can see how many people are viewing each snap you post to your story, this is shown by a small eye and next to each snap in your story and a number. It is also likely that people will screenshot your Snapchats, as Snapchat stories only last for 24 hours people often screenshot so they have the information or picture saved. Snapchat will tell you how many screenshots a story got next to the eye with the number of views. You could use this to your advantage, for example, you could ask your Snapchat followers to screenshot the next snap if you want to see a certain regular takeover person back, this will show you how popular that persons take over with your account are. The best way to ensure people are engaging with your Snapchat account is to promote it, include your Snapchat username in the bio of all your social media profiles. Ensure people know you’re on Snapchat and that you’re active so all your new content ideas aren’t wasted.





A Snapchat geofilter is a filter overlay that you can put over your snap that gives you location. Most cities have geofilters designed by Snapchat, they’re always colourful, often have some sort of related design and then will say the town name. They are a fun way to show your followers what town you’re in or if you’re on holiday where you’re visiting. Geofilters can also be designed for events or special occasions as well as locations. For example an open day could have a geofilter specifically for those days, anyone attending the open day can then use their own Snapchat to take a picture or video and put your geofilter over the top showing all their followers where they are.


Check out our Geofilter Case Study